Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Warmists spell out the enormity of what they are asking

They say, however, that only "prosperity" is in danger.  Vast sea level rises seem to be off the table now.  We will just be poorer.  Better poor than the upheavals they prescribe.  The upheavals will not of course happen but they have already done a lot to make us poorer

The world's biggest gamble

Johan Rockström et al.


The scale of the decarbonisation challenge to meet the Paris Agreement is underplayed in the public arena. It will require precipitous emissions reductions within 40 years and a new carbon sink on the scale of the ocean sink. Even then, the world is extremely likely to overshoot. A catastrophic failure of policy, for example, waiting another decade for transformative policy and full commitments to fossil-free economies, will have irreversible and deleterious repercussions for humanity's remaining time on Earth. Only a global zero carbon roadmap will put the world on a course to phase-out greenhouse gas emissions and create the essential carbon sinks for Earth-system stability, without which, world prosperity is not possible.


Living near a wind farms can cause sleep loss, stress and anxiety, government review finds

Living near a wind farm can cause sleep loss, stress and anxiety, a government review has found.  

A 'clear link' between the amount of noise emitted by an energy site and irritation experienced by nearby residents was identified in a report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change last year.

Published this week, the paper said there was an 'increased risk' of suffering from sleep deprivation from turbines exceeding 40 decibels.

But the prospect of a sleepless night was generally an 'indirect' link caused by the frustration evoked from having a loud wind farm in your community, it added.

The review recommended that 'excessive' noise should be clamped down on, citing potential measures such as modifying the turbine blade.

The findings ratcheted up pressure on the Government to be more heavy handed with noisy farms, with one MP calling for them to be 'shut down permanently'.

Complaints about noise disturbance can range from the steady swishing noise from the blade to a louder thump which can sometimes occur, the review said.

But, it added, the annoyance is not just limited to the thunderous sound a wind farm can create.

Flickering shadows created by the swirling blade and its 'appearance in the landscape' can similarly irk those who live near one.

Conservative MP Glyn Davies told the Sunday Telegraph: 'Where there are noisy wind farms they are hugely disruptive.

'Noisy wind farms should be shut down unless they can be changed.

'They would need to be shut down permanently.'

RenewableUK's director of policy for consents and intelligence Gemma Grimes said: 'It's good to see that this official report confirms what every other peer-reviewed study around the world has found - that there's no evidence of any direct link between wind farms and health, stress or sleep issues.

She added: 'On the rare occasions when any questions on acoustic issues come up, our industry always works hard to address them swiftly and effectively as a matter of course, as we're determined to remain good neighbours with local communities. That's why the onshore wind industry took the lead on understanding this issue and addressing it.'



Your Reusable Tote Bag Actually Isn't as Environmentally Friendly as You Think

You’d have to use your beloved cotton tote at least 327 times for it to be more carbon-friendly than plastic

Bring your own bag to the grocery store. We all know this practice is good for the planet, but even the most environmentally minded consumer might come up to the cashier minus a carryall with one perfectly good reason: you forgot.

Faced with this conundrum, should you:

Buy a new canvas tote that you can always reuse?

Ask—just this once!—for a disposable, landfill-clogging plastic bag?

Or, per a classic Portlandia sketch, simply don’t forget?

In a perfect world—or at least in Portlandia—the answer is of course C.

Watch what happens when Jack McBrayer forgets his shopping bag in Portlandia:

But in the real world, where people forget all the time, you’ll want to choose the ol’ standby, B, if you want the least eco-guilt.

Choosing plastic might sound counterintuitive, but as The Atlantic pointed out, canvas bags are actually much worse for the environment compared to their flimsy, single-use counterparts.

In a U.K. Environment Agency study, researchers crunched the environmental tally of various carrier bags such as the standard high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic bag you’d get from the supermarket, as well as paper, cotton and recycled-polypropylene bags.

They found that reusing a HDPE bag once (as a waste bin liner for instance) has the same environmental impact as reusing a cotton tote bags 327 times, a recycled polypropylene plastic 26 times and a paper bag seven times.

All told, as Business Insider noted from the UKEA study, a conventional plastic bag has a total carbon footprint of only 3.48 lbs.—compared to the whopping 598.6 lbs. emitted by a cotton bag.

Here’s the takeaway. Bags that are designed to last longer require more resources—growing, harvesting, manufacturing, transportation—which means they have a greater environmental impact across their entire lifecycle.

Look, we all know that plastic bags are an eco-nightmare that harms the environment and kills wildlife. That’s why many cities and even entire states have initiated bans or imposed fees on these non-biodegradable, petroleum-based menaces. If they haven’t crammed up the space under your kitchen sink, they’re getting stuck in storm drains or in the stomachs of any number of marine animals, from fish, dolphins and whales to sea turtles and birds.

But cotton is quite possibly a bigger planetary scourge. According to the World Wildlife Fund, cotton crops account for 24 percent of the global market for insecticides and 11 percent for pesticides. In 1995, contaminated run-off from cotton fields killed more than 240,000 fish in Alabama alone.

Cotton is also incredibly thirsty. “It can take more than 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton; equivalent to a single T-shirt and pair of jeans,” the WWF says. Cotton isn’t even regularly recycled—at least many grocery stores have plastic bag recycling bins.

Thanks to the green movement, tote bags are now as ubiquitous as the plastic bags they were meant to replace. You’ll find them lining supermarket checkout aisles, given away for free at clothing stores and probably resigned to a sad pile in your closet. I did a rough inventory of how many reuseable totes I’ve accumulated and stopped counting after 13 out of embarrassment.

So what can you do the next time you forget your bag at the grocery store? Besides “don’t forget,” you can keep smaller, foldable bags in your pocket or handbag, or even use the type that can easily hook onto your keychain. As for me, I’ve decided that from now on, my innumerable tote collection will just live in the trunk of my car.


The myth of green jobs

Job creation alone does not equate to a benefit for the economy

One of the claims often advanced for renewable energy is that it will lead to a bonanza of what are called “green jobs”. It is a way of justifying the upfront costs involved in switching the nation’s energy production to these low carbon sources. The idea is that Britain will ultimately earn squillions from the exciting new technologies that its green entrepreneurs will forge and sell.

The sting, of course, is that to secure these benefits, the British public must first sluice the industry with buckets of subsidies, expected to reach £9bn a year by 2020. Recent events in the renewables sector — including attempts to reduce the burden of this support — have sparked concern among participants over consumers’ declining willingness to fund this enormous exercise in job creation.

It is why the industry is so keen to insert itself into prime minister Theresa May’s newly proposed — but as yet unexplained — industrial strategy. Promoters see it as a way of ensuring the cash does not dry up.

Ministers should treat these tales of untold industrial benefits with considerable caution.

No one denies that green technologies create employment. Figures from the Renewable Energy Association, a trade body, suggest that 117,000 people are already beavering away in the sector and its supply chain. But job creation alone does not equate to a benefit for the economy. What ultimately matters is the extra output produced by these new workers. For the exercise to be worthwhile, its value must exceed the wider costs, including the impact on alternative production and employment.

But the problem with green jobs is that they are not very valuable. Take the 17,000 people that another trade body, RenewableUK, says were employed in the wind energy business in 2013. These jobs do not exist because the industry is capable of competing on a level playing field with conventional energy suppliers, but because the public has made up for their inability to do so by giving them a large subvention. In effect, each of those wind jobs had a subsidy cost of £98,000 in that year alone, paid in the currency of more expensive electricity. That raises costs for everyone, cutting consumers’ spending power and company profits across the UK.

Of course, employment is not the only claim made by the green proponents. They also argue that environmental policies will promote the development of new industries, which will become steadily more efficient. By being early into the field, Britain can build up technical expertise that will lead to valuable export orders when other slower countries scramble to reduce their own emissions.

But, once again, these claims unravel on closer inspection. They depend heavily on the idea that sales of this kit will be driven by technological innovation, and that countries such as Britain will be able to hang on to high market shares by dint of their know-how. In fact, the available evidence points the other way.

Take the case of the solar panel industry. For all their technical mastery, and the fact that the EU was long the biggest market for installations, European and US manufacturers lost the early lead they established in the supply of photovoltaic cells. Customers turned out to be relatively uninterested in driving operating efficiency. Instead, cheap and technically unsophisticated Chinese cells cleaned up within a few years, crushing the western competition. Of the top 10 solar-panel makers worldwide, no fewer than seven are now Chinese.

What is more, this sort of outcome may not be a bug, but a feature of the subsidy culture. Guaranteed incomes attract rent-seeking behaviour that appears to place a lower premium on efficiency. Rather than wring the maximum from their equipment, renewable investors prefer to fill a field, or cover a roof, with panels of inferior quality, as long as it is at the lowest cost.

This raises serious doubts about the real chance of a green industry pay-off. A European Commission study, EmployRES, concluded in 2011 that economic gains from renewables policies were dependent on the EU maintaining more than a 50 per cent market share of the global green technology market. Attaining, let alone keeping, such a large portion seems unlikely. Europe’s share of solar exports was less than 20 per cent last year.

The truth is that Britain’s decision to reduce emissions should stand on its own merits, bearing in mind the costs and the likely success of the policy given the country’s small contribution to emissions. It cannot be supported by spurious claims about green jobs and the possibility of an industrial renaissance driven by wind, sun and the tides.


Criticism of Svensmark's theory is just more modelling rubbish

Henrik Svensmark

Now and then new results appear that suggest that the idea of cosmic ray influence on clouds and terrestrial climate does not work. “Sun-clouds-climate connection takes a beating from CERN” is the latest news story which is based on a new paper from the CLOUD collaboration at CERN

It is important to note that the new CLOUD paper is not presenting an experimental result, with respect to the effect of cosmic ray generated ions on clouds, but a result of numerical modeling. CLOUD is using their experimental measurements to estimate the typical nucleation of various aerosols of small size (1-3 nm). However, for an aerosol to affect clouds (and climate) it must first grow to 50-100 nm, to become cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). CLOUD then uses a numerical model to estimate the effect of cosmic rays on the growth process, and finds that the response of cosmic rays on the number of CCN over a solar cycle is insignificant.

This type of numerical modeling is by no means new, and neither is the result that ions in these models apparently do not affect cloud formation. We have known this for about 7 years. For example the CLOUD results, with respect to cosmic rays and clouds, are very similar to the conclusions of Pierce and Adams from 2009 [2] where they also use a numerical model to grow small nucleated aerosols to CCN, and also find only a small change in CCN as a function of ion changes.

In fact this result has been found a number of times in similar models. The argument for the lack of response to ions is the following: In the presence of ions additional small aerosols are formed, but with an increase in the number of aerosols, there is less gas to each particle, and they therefore grow slower. This means that the probability of being lost to larger particles increases, and fewer survive.

So why, in contrast to the above, do I think that the cosmic rays cloud idea is still viable? The reason is that we have tried to answer the same question (do ion-nucleated aerosols grow to CCN) without using models — and get very different results.

In 2012 we tested the growth of nucleated aerosols to CCN in our laboratory and found that when no ions were present the response to increased nucleation was severely damped, in accordance with the above mentioned models; but with ions present, all the extra nucleated particles grew to CCN sizes, in contrast to the numerical model results [3].

Now it may be that the conditions we have in the experiment are not as in the real atmosphere. There are complex processes in the real atmosphere that that we cannot include, whose effect may change the experimental result, as we have been told many times.

It is therefore fortunate that our Sun makes natural experiments with the whole Earth. On rare occasions “explosions” on the Sun called coronal mass ejections, results in a plasma cloud passing the Earth, with the effect that cosmic rays flux decreases suddenly and stays low for a week or two.

Such events, with a significant reduction in the cosmic rays flux, are called Forbush decreases, and are ideal to test the link between cosmic rays and clouds. Finding the strongest Forbush decreases and using 3 independent cloud satellite data sets (ISCCP, MODIS, and SSM/I) and one dataset for aerosols (AERONET), we clearly see a response to Forbush decreases.

These results suggest that the whole chain from solar activity, to cosmic rays, to aerosols (CCN), to clouds, is active in the Earth's atmosphere. From the MODIS data we even see that the cloud microphysics is changing according to expectations.

Figure 1 display the superposed signal in clouds (blue curve), based on the above three satellite datasets, in the days following the minimum in cosmic rays of the 5 strongest Forbush decreases (red curve). The delay in the minimum of the two curves is due to the time it takes aerosols to grow into CCN. A Monte Carlo simulation was used to estimate the significance of the signal, and none of 104 random realizations gave a signal of similar size. Please see our latest paper from 2016 for further evidence [4].

Figure 1: Statistical common disturbance in clouds (1 Principal component) based on three cloud satellite data sets (ISCCP, MODIS and SSM/I) superposed for the five strongest Forbush decreases (blue) curve. Red curve is the change in (%) of cosmic rays superposed for the same five events. The thin lines are 1-3 standard deviations. Adapted from [4].

Finally, there are a large number of studies showing that past climate changes are closely correlated to variations in cosmic rays. For example, the energy that goes into the oceans over 11 years solar cycle is of the order 1-1.5 W/m2, which is 5-7 times too large to be explained by solar irradiance variations [5].

Therefore something is amplifying the solar cycle, and “cosmic rays and clouds” is a good candidate to explain the observed forcing.

In conclusion, observations and experiments go against the above mentioned numerical model result.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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